During summer, eggplant is everywhere, in abundance. But unlike tomatoes, most folks don’t cherish it. “I can’t wait until eggplants are here” is not a refrain we hear often. Farmers love eggplant, though, because it grows like a weed, with each plant producing a dozen or so fruit that end up in purple piles at the farmers’ market. Gardeners love it because the plants are stately and the star-shaped flowers are a lovely light lavender color.
Because eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge, Eggplant Parmesan (probably the most popular eggplant dish) tends to be a bit laborious and oily. We’ve found that one of the best (and effortless) ways to cook eggplant is to roast it and mash it into healthy dips—particularly great in summer, when we’re eating lighter foods.
Below you will find two that play up to eggplant’s creamy texture and affinity for smoky, spicy flavorings. Serve them with pita chips, baguette slices or vegetable sticks.
Note: To roast eggplant, preheat oven to 350F, peel eggplant and cut into halves lengthwise. Place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes or until tender. Proceed with dips: